Thursday, October 22, 2009

Youth Peace Travel Team: A dream of peace.

Applications are being accepted for next summer’s Youth Peace Travel Team, a group of young adults age 19 to 22 who share Jesus' message of peace with other young people at church camps and other venues. The team is sponsored by the Church of the Brethren’s Youth and Young Adult Ministry, Brethren Volunteer Service, On Earth Peace, and the Outdoor Ministries Association. They receive food, lodging, and travel expenses for the summer, and a college tuition grant. Applications are due Jan. 19, 2010. Go to or contact Becky Ullom at 800-323-8039 ext. 297.

The following is excerpted from a reflection by Jessica Flory-Steury, a member of the 2009 Youth Peace Travel Team along with Bethany Funkhouser, Chelsea Goss, and Marianne Houff:

"Before my experience on the Youth Peace Travel Team, I dreamed of peace on earth. I wondered what it would be like if all wars ended, world hunger was defeated, and love reigned over all. I always knew it was possible. I just didn’t know how....

"One of our junior high campers had a very interesting story. He had come to camp by invitation of a friend. He had not been to church more than a few times in his life. He didn’t know anything about the church, or much about Jesus Christ. He had come from a broken home and had witnessed things that no one should ever have to see in their lifetime.... He often teased other campers and in the past had been known to be involved in violence. In spite of that, he could be a kind and passionate individual. I was so glad he was there and I was glad to be there to witness his transformation.

"Throughout the beginning of the week, he got in trouble for goofing off. I discovered from conversation with him that he often had no idea what the leaders were talking about during Bible studies, leaving him frustrated and pushed even farther when he was reprimanded for not paying attention.

"From observing the campers that week, the team decided that these kids needed to hear more of the basics. They had more experiences of violence and hate in their lives than we could imagine. We told them that Jesus loved them--completely, uniquely, and intimately. We told them that we are called to love one another. In the session, we had them think of ways to break down walls of hate. At the end, we had them write their own ‘peace raps.’

"The passion and creativity that poured out of those kids was amazing. It was inspiring to observe that even though they had all experienced so much hate and violence in their schools and homes, they still had hope.

"The previously mentioned camper grew from an instigator to a leader...the one who was encouraging his teammates, presenting ideas, and motivating everyone to keep going. After we left that week, I wanted to go with that boy, to help him maintain his eagerness to learn and make peace and to remind him that he was loved. My hope is that we instilled something in him that doesn’t go away.... I pray that boy continues on his journey of peace with God....

" World peace will not be solved by one person in a day. We need each other and all the love that we possess to fulfill the message that Jesus had for us."

Source: 10/22/2009 Newsline

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